Street drinking ‘out of control’ in Galway

Drinking on the streets of Galway has spiralled out of control and the Gardaí were doing nothing to curb it despite the introduction of new byelaws, according to the city’s newest councillor.

Co-opted councillor Colette Connolly, who took over from her sister Catherine after her election to the Dáil, was reflecting on the 181 public order incidents recorded by Gardaí for the first three months of the year – an increase of six incidents on the previous quarter.

She queried whether the vast majority of the incidents were as a result of excessive drinking and remarked that the number of incidents seemed high.

“We see them out drinking on the street, at the Spanish Arch, people are drinking all over the place. It’s out of control . . . people don’t feel safe walking about anymore.”

The independent councillor was highly critical of the exemptions contained in the byelaws introduced to outlaw drinking in public spaces including parks and beaches, giving the power to Gardaí and community wardens to seize alcohol and issue fines.

Exemptions can be given for special events such as Race Week and major civic and sporting celebrations if an application is made to the Gardaí 21 days before the event.

“It’s ludicrous to adopt byelaws in relation to alcohol and simultaneously have an exemption. How can we have exemptions to a byelaw – are there any other byelaws where there are exemptions?”

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said his officers did seize alcohol since the byelaws were adopted and they now had the power to issue fines for those who refused to stop drinking in public spaces.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune